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Agenda item

Play Area Provision


Mrs Shepherd introduced her report which provided an update following the adoption of Maidstone’s Play Area Policy by the Committee in October 2017.


The Committee noted that £200,000 had been allocated to the Parish Grant Scheme to support improvements at Strategically Important Play Areas owned or operated by Parish Councils.  Out of the 29 Parishes that were eligible for funding, 9 applications were received and had been successful for funding.  The total amount requested was £86,500 and with match funding of £143,000 the scheme had generated £230,000 of improvements to Strategically Important Play Areas.


Due to there being a surplus in the budget, it was proposed that a second round of funding be undertaken to give those Parishes who did not submit an application previously to put in a bid for funding.


Mrs Shepherd advised that there were 20 MBC play areas which had been identified as non-strategically important and would be considered for decommissioning when the equipment comes to the end of its usable life.  However, the Committee was advised that Officers would be contacting Ward Members and Parish Councils of those play areas to have an early discussion to consider alternative management arrangements for the site or request the Committee consider the future of their Non-Strategically Important Play Areas (NSIPAs).


It was noted that none of those on the list of NSIPAs would be closed for the next five years.


In response to questions from Members, Mrs Shepherd advised that:-


·  She would check with the Property Team to see how the transfer of the ownership of Franklin Drive play area to Boxley Parish Council was progressing.

·  If the Parish Council was to purchase a piece of play equipment, the Council would carry out safety inspections and minor repairs but if there were major repairs required then it would not carry these out.

In the proceeding discussion Members made the following comments:-


·  That one of the criterion for strategically important play areas of being within a 12 minute walk to residents should be revisited.

·  That there are a number of densely populated areas and areas of deprivation that do not have a play area and this should be further investigated.

·  That if there was a strength of feeling from residents for a play area in their area, a residents association or similar organisation could take several years to form by which time it could be too late.

·  That any surplus from the underspend on the Parish Grant Scheme should be ringfenced and used towards those non-strategically important play areas.


1)  That the outcome of the Strategically Important Play Area (SIPA)
Parish Grant Scheme be noted.


2)  That a second round of funding, based on the previous criteria, for
the remaining budget be approved.

3)  That a pro-active approach to contacting Ward Members and Parish
Councils for areas with non-strategically important play areas (NSPAs) is supported, in order to seek opportunities for further investment, third party management of the sites or consideration of their decommissioning.

Voting:  Unanimous



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